The holiday season is nearly here, and
with it all the hustle and bustle of getting ready for it. Expectations
run high for the big day, but don't wear yourself out trying to do it all.
Choose a few things that are important to you and do them well. Accept
help if it is offered and if it isn't, ask for assistance if needed.
Delegate tasks. This isn't a one-person production, it is a gathering of
people, many who are willing and able to be a part of the preparation.
Several years ago I came across a saying that I thought was
particularly appropriate for Thanksgiving:
A single grateful
thought, raised to Heaven, is the most perfect prayer.
All of us
can find many things to be grateful for this year. Wishing you and your
family the most perfect Thanksgiving ever.
||Revival of the
Cooler weather calls for meals featuring hearty, warming soups. Soup
tureens used to be a staple in homes and they are making a comeback for
many reasons. Soups are easy to make, economical and healthy mainstays for
busy families. Tureens can allow you to make, serve and even store the
soup du jour in one attractive piece, depending on the
Although many tureens are created as serving pieces for
fine china patterns, making them impractical for everyday use, newer
tureens are made to blend with many different styles of
The tureen and covered soup bowl shown are examples of
a more transitional style that could be at home with casual soup and salad
dinners as well as more sophisticated, formal dining. The shape is a
stylized take on a pumpkin which makes it a natural for a Thanksgiving
buffet or dinner table, but it is simple enough to use all year
If you are lucky enough to have a soup tureen that has been
in storage for a while, why not bring it out and join the revival? No
tureen? Click below to learn more about the one pictured. Read on for
delicious soup recipes, too!
Would you like to do something a little different in your dining room
this holiday season? Will you be hosting out of town guests and want to
create a special tablesetting for your meals together?
Is it your
turn to have a holiday dinner at your house?
It's not necessary to
run out and buy a lot of new things just to have a fabulous table. Using
redesign principles, you probably have the basis for the perfect
tablescape just waiting to be discovered in your home, right
Regardless of the color, pattern, or style of your dinnerware,
you can pull together the perfect look that reflects the season and your
style in less time than you think. Creative repurposing of your existing
accessories will stretch your holiday budget and allow you to concentrate
on the main focus of the event-the food!
I've created a quick video
using different patterns of dinnerware and possible materials and
accessories that may be used to create centerpieces and runners to tie in
the patterns with the season. Please click on the link below to see the
ideas and do let me know if they have inspired you.
Need more help
or inspiration for your holiday decorating? I'm an email or phone call
away. Click below in the Quick Links section to contact me.
Clear clutter from your fridge, free up space for party foods and chill
out using these tips:
- Use or toss leftovers and any condiments that have lingered past
- Store condiments and other items that won't be needed for a day or
two in an ice filled cooler
- If it is cold enough outside, pre-chill bottled and canned drinks in
the garage or in a protected place on a side porch or deck.
- Along with the drinks, pre-chill empty beverage tubs, ice buckets
and other "cold" serving pieces by setting them up on a folding table
covered with clean sheets.
Serving Thanksgiving Soups|
Starting off your Thanksgiving meal with soup is a smart way to slow
the pace of the meal and even cut the over-all calorie consumption. Tests
have shown that the slower we eat, the fewer calories we consume and the
faster we are full, preventing over-eating.
Soups can simmer on the
stove while the balance of the meal is roasting and can be served while
the turkey is resting before it is carved.
If your meal is being
presented as a buffet, it is easy to keep the soup warm in a tureen or a
covered casserole. Just before filling the tureen, rinse it and the lid
with warm water to "prime" it and help take the shock off of filling a
cool vessel with a hot liquid. Dry well so it won't slip through your
hands. Fill the tureen either where it will be located or as closely as
possible to the site to prevent accidents when transporting it. Many
people prefer silicone oven mitts or pot holders that help to keep a good
grip on the container. If you haven't used these before, it's best to
practice with them before the big day because they are different from
working with cloth mitts. Have a ladle resting on a saucer next to the
container so that the lid may be replaced in between servings to help keep
the soup warm.
If you are serving guests at the table, warm the
bowls in advance, if possible, using a warm water bath, then drying well.
If your bowls are oven-proof you may warm them for a few minutes there.
I have even read where you can plan to wash the bowls in the
dishwasher so they will be finished and piping hot just as you are ready
to serve the soup. (If you are one of the people who does this, please let
me know how it works.)
All these tricks take only minutes to do and
make serving soup a snap!
Place the filled soup bowls on a tray,
garnish, and carry in to serve your guests. It makes a wonderful
presentation and a prelude to the remaining courses.
Your choice of
soup will depend on the rest of the meal as well as your guests likes and
dietary restrictions. Some families have a traditional menu that reflects
their roots and/or the region where they live.
My husband's family
is rooted in Maryland and the Eastern shore, so crab soup variations have
been part of the meal for many years. Bisques are simple and elegant to
make and serve and I have found a recipe that combines both. It's from
Cooking Light so the recipe has been slimmed down without sacrificing
taste. Please click on the link below for the recipe and to find more
recipes for your holiday meal.
For extra temporary table space, cut a new plywood top to enlarge the
size of your existing folding table or to create a new table using a
To make storage easier for larger tops, use hook and
eye hardware on the underside to hold pieces together. Sand, paying
attention to rough edges and corners. Prime and paint the top to help seal
and protect it as well as your table cloth or drape.
You may want
to create your own table pad using yardage from your local fabric store.
Attach it to the underside of the table top using Velcro strips or tabs,
with "hook" part of the Velcro on the underside of the table and the
flocked side on the fabric for easy laundering.
||New Options for
Decorating With Garlands|
Outdoor archways, porticos, inside bay windows, hallways and buffets
are just some of the areas that can be a challenge to decorate with
garlands, particularly lighted garlands. New options for cordless lights
make the task easier using quality materials for a realistic
The garland shown uses LED lights that are brighter and long
lasting, running more than 400 hours without a battery change. Even
better, it has a timer to allow it to run for 6 hours each night. No more
struggling to hide cords, remembering to turn off lights to preserve
batteries, even in bad weather, or to change batteries in difficult to
Give yourself an early gift this year. Click below to
read more about it.